Canadian auction house, Heffel is bringing a group of works by Montreal-born abstract expressionist, Jean-Paul Riopelle, to their upcoming contemporary sale on July 15. Among the works by Riopelle coming this season is Velouté from 1966. The painting is expected to sell for a price between CAD 500,000–700,000
Riopelle completed Velouté, which stands at 44.9 inches by 63.8 inches, at a crucial period in his career. By the mid-1960s the artist expanded the size of his canvases, and began working in a more abstracted painterly style. During this period Riopelle developed a style known as “abstract landscapism.” He also began working with sculpture more seriously following his 1962 Paris exhibition of bronze sculpture at Galerie Jacques Dubourg.
According to the lot’s catalogue essay, Velouté features an extension of Riopelle’s mosaic style from the 1950s—featuring a thick painted technique akin to carved relief. The painting’s French title, which translates to “velvety” describes the work’s heavy impasto. Thework was created during the artist’s long-term relationship with fellow painter Joan Mitchell.
Heffel holds the auction record for Riopelle, established with the sale of Vent du nord which went for $7.4 million in November 2017 against a conservative pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million.
Velouté was last exhibited at the Kunsthaus Zurich, a private museum housing prominent Swiss art collections. It has been in private hands for more than two decades, with only two previous owners—it was acquired by the current seller in a Christie’s London sale in June 1994 for £38,900 ($59,108)